K-Stated

Kansas State Q&A: Bruce Weber, postseason basketball odds, football and Brent Venables

K-State guard Brian Rohleder and forward Wesley Iwundu try to steal the ball from Baylor guard Lester Medford Wednesday night late the game in Bramlage Coliseum.(February 10, 2016)
K-State guard Brian Rohleder and forward Wesley Iwundu try to steal the ball from Baylor guard Lester Medford Wednesday night late the game in Bramlage Coliseum.(February 10, 2016) The Wichita Eagle

It’s time for another K-State Q&A.

Let me start be saying thank you for a lack of questions on the Big 12 basketball race. I have no idea who is going to win the regular season championship. Could be Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas or West Virginia. If I had to bet money on it, I would probably go with OU or WVU, but I would rather keep my money and just see how it plays out.

There is also a compelling race for seventh taking place between Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and TCU. The final game of the regular season -- K-State at Texas Tech -- could decide.

I love the Big 12’s double round-robin schedule with 10 teams. It’s the best way to decide a champion, and the best thing the league has going.

With that, let’s get to your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.

I could answer this question in 14 different ways, but let’s go this direction: Young roster, no depth, no point guard.

That’s a bad combination for a team trying to win in the Big 12 this season. While other teams have veteran rosters and deep benches, K-State is trying to win with freshmen starters and Austin Budke off the bench. One night, Dean Wade comes out on fire, scores 17 points and K-State beats No. 1 Oklahoma. The next, Wade commits three quick fouls, chucks air balls and K-State can barely compete with Baylor sans Rico Gathers.

Young teams typically flash moments of brilliance before they learn how to do it consistently. This group seems a year away.

K-State is also really missing Kamau Stokes. He’s the best point guard the program has had since Angel Rodriguez, a freshman capable of hitting threes and avoiding turnovers. Without him, the offense is stagnant. I’m not impressed with Carlbe Ervin. Recruit Cartier Diarra will need to contribute next season.

After what I saw Wednesday, a miserable 2 of 14 showing from three-point range, I’m inclined to say yes. This team, especially without Stokes, can barely hit rim from beyond the arc.

I give K-State a 60 percent chance to make the NIT. It has a good RPI and a great win against Oklahoma. With four more victories -- maybe even three -- the Wildcats will probably get an invitation to the little dance, which would actually be a decent achievement given the team’s youth, injuries and preseason expectations.

Saturday’s game at Oklahoma State will be important. That’s one K-State can ill afford to lose, especially if Jawun Evans doesn’t play. With TCU (twice), Texas Tech and Kansas/Texas at home, plus the Big 12 Tournament, the Wildcats need a road victory to begin the march toward the postseason.

Ah, back to the NCAA Tournament. Winning out would definitely get K-State in. Heck, at 21-10 and 10-8 in the Big 12 before the conference tournament, it would be looking at a pretty good seed.

The Wildcats can give themselves hope for a bid by winning five more games. I think six more victories would certainly get them in. But that’s a lot to ask from a team that can’t string two good games together or win on the road. K-State needs to go at least 3-1 over its next four games to give itself hope at the Big Dance. Or go on a crazy run in Kansas City.

Wade will end up being way better than that scrub. All McDermott did was score the fifth most points in NCAA history. Wade should have that beat as a junior. He’s got his eyes set on Larry Bird.

They looked awful good and fit against Oklahoma. It’s just hard for young teams, especially when they are dealing with injuries the way K-State currently is, to play at a high level consistently. The letdown against Baylor was easy to see coming.

I guess it depends on your definition of support.

He doesn’t seem to have many die-hard fans, people that think he’s the best thing about the basketball team the way Frank Martin did. There is definitely a segment of fans that would raise a beer to news of a new coach. But fans are filling Bramlage Coliseum in a rebuilding year, and the Oklahoma crowd was off the charts. So people are still spending money to watch the team he coaches.

They clap when he’s introduced before games. Kids lined up to get his autograph after the Baylor loss. He’s not universally loved like vanilla ice cream, but it seems like most fans think he’s OK.

His record at K-State is 76-48 with a Big 12 championship, two NCAA Tournaments, a pair of victories over Kansas and a win over No.1 Oklahoma. John Currie likes him and so do the major boosters. He’s safe unless he gets caught robbing a bank.

He’s an outstanding defensive coordinator and Rivals just named him recruiter of the year. He helped Clemson reach the national championship game, and he figures to be the next hot name on the coaching circuit ... If he wants to be a head coach. I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t become a head coach yet, given the success he had at Oklahoma. But he told Sports Illustrated before the bowl season he is happy being a coordinator. He makes a seven-figure salary so maybe there’s some truth to that.

I have no idea if or when he will make that jump, but I’m sure his name will be at the top of many athletic directors’ lists. He’s the hottest coordinator in the country. As a former K-State player, he would be a candidate to replace Bill Snyder if he’s still a coordinator when Snyder decides to retire -- the current dream of many a K-State fan. But he could look somewhere else first. For Venables, it seems like the next step will be a mixture of timing and opportunity.

This got me thinking, what if athletic directors were able to designate coaches at other schools as Head Coach in Waiting without actually hiring them? Texas could designate Houston coach Tom Herman as its HCIW today and still give Charlie Strong another year to turn things around. K-State could make commitments to Venables and Brad Underwood. We don’t know when we will need a new coach, but we’ve got dibs on those guys! Wow, what a mess that would be. I’m sure K-State fans would be OK with it, though.

It’s a good slogan to have, and K-State has played into it well with the FAMILY banner in the student section at football games, and the block of wood, and everything else. Beats some of the revolving door slogans other teams trot out every year.

I guess I want to know how prominently the winning families will be displayed on the football posters. Will some random K-State family of four be the focus, pushing Bill Snyder and players to the background? That would be weird. I’m guessing it will be the other way around. Still kinda weird, but I’ll give it a chance.

The dark ages will arrive when K-State starts asking families to audition for coaching positions.

Well, recruiting could have gone better. But I think everything else is going fine. It’s always silent during the offseason. I spoke to an assistant coach the other day who said the team is working harder than usual for this time of year, because they know they have to be ready for the season-opener at Stanford.

Not surprised. Jonathan Banks finished fourth in the quarterback race last season and never played. With Skylar Thompson now in the mix, he faced a more difficult competition to become K-State’s starter next season. His best chance at playing was to switch positions, which he didn’t want to do. Better he transfer and look for QB playing time elsewhere.

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett

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